Laos Economy


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The economy of Laos is dominated by agriculture. The country suffers from a lack of infrastructure and a predominantly unskilled workforce. GDP real growth rate is 7.5% as in 2007. The unit of Laos currency is New Kip (NK).

Laos is a landlocked country. Subsistence rice farming is the mainstay of the economy. It employs approximately 85% of Laos population and generates 51% of GDP. Economic hardship is further excarberated by low domestic savings.

Laos experienced startling economic growth from 1988-2007. The Asian country enjoyed excess of 6% growth during this period. Despite this quick growth, Laos remains saddled by a distinct lack of infrastructure and paucity of internal and external telecommunications. Construction is a strong economic driver with a number of road and hydroelectric dam projects going on. The small quantum of domestic savings force Laos to depend on foreign concessional loans and assistance for development of the country's economy.

Laos' GDP with respect to purchasing power parity was $12.65 billion in 2007. GDP per capita was $2,000. Agriculture dominates the economy-with 40.9% of GDP. Industry contributes 33.2%. Services contribute 25.9% to the Laos economy. 2.1 million persons make up the labor force. Approximately 30% of Laos population lives below poverty line. Unemployment rate is 2.4% (2005).

The list of agriculture products produced in Laos include corn, sweet potatoes, cotton, peanuts, water buffalo, poultry, and rice. Industries include timber, tin and copper mining, garments, construction, cement, gypsum mining, and tourism. Industrial production growth rate was 12%. Goods worth $970 billion were exported in 2007. Commodities like coffee, tin, electricity, gold and wood products were exported. Thailand was the biggest exporting partner with 34.6% of total Laos exports making its way into the country. Vietnam (10.9%) and China (6.2%) follow behind.

Laos imported vehicles, consumer goods, machinery and fuel to the worth of $1.378 billion in 2007. It main trading partners were Thailand (69.4%), China (9.4%) and Vietnam (5.6%).